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Updated: 22 min 9 sec ago

'Green wave' explains migratory bird routes

September 10, 2014 - 3:14pm
Migratory songbirds enjoy the best of both worlds—food-rich summers and balmy winters—but they pay for it with a tough commute. Their twice-a-year migrations span thousands of miles and are the most dangerous, physically demanding parts of their year.

Fish, fatty acid consumption associated with lower risk of hearing loss in women

September 10, 2014 - 11:25am
Consumption of 2 or more servings of fish per week was associated with a lower risk of hearing loss in women, researchers have found. "Acquired hearing loss is a highly prevalent and often disabling chronic health condition," stated one corresponding author. "Although a decline in hearing is often considered an inevitable aspect of aging, the identification of several potentially modifiable risk factors has provided new insight into possibilities for prevention or delay of acquired hearing loss."

Computers trained to understand music

September 10, 2014 - 11:06am
New software presented at the British Science Festival aims to give music producers the power to manipulate sounds more intuitively.

What would it be like to fall into a black hole?

September 8, 2014 - 7:00am
Let's say you decided to ignore some of my previous advice. You've just purchased yourself a space dragon from the Market on the Centauri Ringworld, strapped on your favorite chainmail codpiece and sonic sword and now you're going ride head first into the nearest black hole.

Why Do People Keep Their Accents?

September 8, 2014 - 6:43am
Most infants begin learning a spoken language from the moment they're born. But as the brain becomes less flexible with age, it's difficult for children to master the sounds and intonation of a second language.

Beauty in Math and Art Activate Same Brain Area

September 7, 2014 - 9:00am
Elegant equations evoke the same activity in mathematicians' brains as gorgeous art or music

-- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

Wild Birds' Songs, Feather Colors Changed by Mercury Contamination

September 5, 2014 - 2:31pm
Mercury in the environment affects birds' brains and alters the songs that they sing.

Mind Messaging: Thoughts Transmitted by Brain-to-Brain Link

September 5, 2014 - 11:51am
In an experiment that sounds more like science fiction than reality, two humans were able to transmit greetings to each other using only a digital connection to link their brains.

Loudspeakers in jet engines

September 5, 2014 - 6:00am
Unless one is attending an aeronautics convention or going on a trip, noise associated with aircraft engines is rarely tolerable. Different means of significantly reducing that noise are being tested by EPFL's Electromagnetics and Acoustics Laboratory.

NASA scientists listen to data

September 5, 2014 - 5:20am
Robert Alexander spends parts of his day listening to a soft white noise, similar to water falling on the outside of a house during a rainstorm. Every once in a while, he hears an anomalous sound and marks the corresponding time in the audio file. Alexander is listening to the sun's magnetic field and marking potential areas of interest. After only ten minutes, he has listened to one month's worth of data.

Turtles Not Among the "Silent Majority" of Reptiles

September 4, 2014 - 9:00am
Biologists have identified at least 11 different sounds in the turtle repertoire—but they still have no idea what they mean. Christopher Intagliata reports

-- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

Behind the scenes at 'the biggest fish tank you have ever seen'

September 4, 2014 - 6:30am
An unusual large scale experiment being led by a group of scientists at the University of Exeter investigating how fish respond to underwater noise is the subject of a new NERC Planet Earth podcast.

LSU Health research discovers new therapeutic target for diabetic wound healing

September 3, 2014 - 10:00pm
(Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center) Research led by scientists in Dr. Song Hong's group at LSU Health New Orleans has identified a novel family of chemical mediators that rescue the reparative functions of macrophages -- a main type of mature white blood cells -- impaired by diabetes, restoring their ability to resolve inflammation and heal wounds.

Ancient mammal relatives were active at night 100 million years before origin of mammals

September 3, 2014 - 3:26pm
Most living mammals are active at night (or nocturnal), and many other mammal species are active during twilight conditions. It has long been thought that the transition to nocturnality occurred at about the same time as mammals evolved, around 200 million years ago. This thinking was based on on features such as the large brains of mammals (good for processing information from senses like hearing, touch, and smell) and the details of light-sensitive chemicals in the eyes of mammals.

3 Ways to Keep Bats Away from Wind Turbines

September 3, 2014 - 12:00pm
Ultrasonic “boom boxes” and other deterrents are under development

-- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

Amazing video timelapse of big telescopes at work in Chile

September 3, 2014 - 6:54am
What's it like to spend a night at a huge telescope observatory? Jordi Busque recorded a brilliant timelapse of the Very Large Telescope (VLT) and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). What makes this video unique is not only the exotic location in Chile, but the use of sound in the area rather than music.

Insured losses from Napa quake wona t top $250 million, RMS says

September 2, 2014 - 6:26pm

Chesley Williams , on a fact-finding mission with RMS, listened to Michael Giovannoni of Browns Valley Market explain the extensive damage his market received during the Napa earthquake.

NASA satellites calling here you come again, Tropical Storm Dolly

September 2, 2014 - 3:23pm
Tropical Storm Dolly visited Mexico six years ago, and NASA satellite data is calling "Here you come again," reminiscent of the famous country singer's hit song, as another storm named Dolly heads for a second landfall in Mexico.

Hip Hop is not down with Monsanto

September 2, 2014 - 4:51am

And you thought rap was all cars, Riff Raff and Gucci Mane. Yeah, there’s plenty of that, but there are also plenty of rappers still dropping knowledge, as was ubiquitous during Hip Hop’s Golden Age –’88  to ’95 — and without a hint of irony or romantic nostalgia. I’m thinking Common, Talib Kweli, who was out there arguing with cops and CNN in Ferguson, and the homey Jasiri X. Despite rap’s reputation for worst behavior, it’s still one of the last, if only, musical genres that counts social studies, history and science as subjects, even if only as electives.

Hip Hop’s latest course offering: genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. There are plenty of controversial and conspiratorial seeds to spread around with this issue. Indeed, for some rappers, GMOs are part of the larger New World Order agenda for global domination by the deity represented on the back of your dollar bill — Behold Some Pale White Pork. Others have approached the debate with gravitas. I’ll let Grist’s Nathanael Johnson (Who I’ve asked to comment on the songs, below) school you on the real science behind GMOs. Or, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, who’s picked it apart between chessboxin’ matches with GZA. I’m personally GMO agnostic. But some of these rappers have given me some food for thought:

Wise Intelligent of the Golden Age group Poor Righteous Teachers released the song “Illuminati,” in 2011, which was a critique of masonic conspiracy theories. He unpacks a lot in this song, but the third verse is where he hammers away at the issue:

Before they collapse the market, they’re criminalizing farming/They’re silencing you for talking, while turning us all into peasants/Agricultural patents, ConAgra created the famines/Monsanto’s seeds that terminate the natural birthing action/Controlling the food supply, choosing who should live or die/Confusion rules, you choose the lie...

Our GMO Guru Nate Johnson annotating for the bolded part: “Reference to the genes that prevent GMO reproduction and spread. They never got it to work. If you’re worried about GMO contamination it would be a good thing.”

Attempting to outdo Wise Intelligent in song title subtlety comes Immortal Technique, who touches on the subject in his song “Bin Laden” –Apparently GMO food is so bad it’s terrorism. Raps Immortal: They feed us genetically modified garbage, so I repetitively reload the cartridge…

(Says Nathanael: “I mean, content aside, you got to admire the masterful rhyme — the assonance, the meter…”)

In 2004, the indispensable MF DOOM delivered one of Hip Hop’s finest dishes, the album Mm…Food, and no rapper has done more with food metaphors since (Sorry, Action Bronson). In 2012, he joined the modified food fight in his collaborative effort with Jneiro Jarel called JJ DOOM where he addresses the issue dead-on in his song “GMO,” where he ponders “Will Frankenfoods kill us?”. One choice passage:

Ya partner DOOM is who’ll ride/Or either do or die like farmer suicide/Chew your pride/Might as well start ‘em out in pro boxing/Then force feed them toddler food laced with excitotoxins

Let’s go ahead and give him props now for being, perhaps, the only musical artist in the world to namedrop excitotoxins, something in our food supply that apparently kills your brain.

(Meanwhile, says Nathanael: “Farmer suicide is real and it’s terrible, but it’s facile to say it’s caused by GMOs. It just isn’t.”)

From the more esoteric song title category comes Aesop Rock’s “BMX,” where rhyme partner Blueprint likens fly-by-night pop rap artists to the Astroturf campaigns orchestrated by GMO companies:

Everybody got inentions that they can’t reveal/Major label acts got to act like they don’t have deals/Claiming grassroots, I’m like, Hell no/Your buzz is as organic as Monsanto/I’m going at your beanstalk, ax in hand…

(Says Nathanael: “Hell yes.”)

In Sage Francis’s emo-navel-gazery “Over Under,” a break-up song — though I’m not clear if he’s breaking up with a love partner, or with himself. In the second verse he fumes (at someone):

Oh I’m the pig? You trying to strangle me in a blanket, though/You’re a GMO seed of breed in my organic garden, wanting my resources to make it grow…

(Says Nathanael: No comment.)

Filed under: Article, Cities, Food, Living

Video: Watch this boy born deaf hear music for the first time

August 29, 2014 - 3:01pm
A 3-year-old boy who was born deaf has been caught reacting to music for the first time — and it looks like he’s ready to bust a move.